Summary = A comprehensive refurbishment to the Barbican Centre and backstage dressing rooms, within a tight seven week programme.

Client = The Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London (as owners, founder and principle funder of the Barbican Centre)

Challenge = All works were carried out within a functioning backstage of the Concert Hall.

Solution = The Barbican Centre is the largest multi-arts centre in Europe, and forms part of the Grade 2 listed Barbican Estate, reflecting its special architectural and historic interest. After a successful tender through the City of London procurement portal, Bakers of Danbury carried out backstage and stage flooring refurbishment works to the Barbican Centre, within a tight seven week programme. Specifically, this included comprehensive refurbishment works to all twenty one dressing rooms serving the Concert Hall, with the Conductor’s suite and five other dressing rooms refurbished to a 5 star hotel standard. The project also included repair and restoration works to the existing solid Canadian Maple stage floor and riser sections of the Hall's stage area. As it was condensed programme requiring close coordination of a number of complex works packages, we assigned both a Site Manager (Lee Kerrison) and Assistant Site Manager (Ken Marshall) to the project full-time to proactively manage the delivery and ensure it remained on-track and within budget.

As all works were carried out within a functioning backstage of the Concert Hall, temporary walkways were created to enable the Barbican Centre employees to carry on about their business, without coming into contact with the works underway. During the preconstruction stage the Contract Manager liaised with the Client to provide program updates, agree alternative access routes, times of working, periods during the day when noisy works were minimised, as well as providing briefings to building occupants who lived in residential flats above the Concert Hall. In addition to the Site Manager’s daily inspection of works, Bakers’ Contracts Manager held a weekly site meeting with the Site Manager to inspect works, checking quality, health and safety and the progress against the project programme.

The refurbishment works to the dressing rooms and Conductor’s suite included new kitchenette areas, acoustic absorption panels and new timber veneer panels to walls within hardwood frames, redecoration of ceiling panels and carpeting. Fixtures and fittings; multipurpose room units, vanity units, built-in wardrobes, daybeds and tv units hand built out of Cedar of Lebanon, by Bakers of Danbury’s in-house joinery workshop. Bakers’ joinery workshop was used to ensure a tight control of the supply chain in terms of quality and programming. This also enabled a close liaison between Ken Marshall onsite and the Joinery Manager in the workshop in Danbury. Assistant Site Manager Ken Marshall has many years’ experience of onsite carpentry, so was given the responsibility of managing the complex joinery from Bakers’ joinery workshop to installation on site.

Access traps were removed from the stage floor and a new lift car (and framework behind) was installed with Canadian Maple to match the existing. The stage was given an anti-slip finish and fire rated varnish. The wall panels were also given a fire rated finish. New integrated lighting solutions, data works, electrical services and fire alarm systems were also installed. This required close coordination between Bakers’ joiners and mechanical and electrical contractors.

A new air-conditioning system was required to the existing projector room which posed a considerable challenge to the distant location of the plant room. Bakers noted at an early stage that the original design of the system could not be implemented due to existing and immovable plant and structure. Bakers engaged their specialist S.V.Bullen at an early stage, held meetings with the design team and ensured that a designed solution was produced and implemented which enabled the installation of the required system within the confines of the existing structure.

A list of bespoke fittings and other items for interior fit out such as televisions, lamps, bins, tables and chairs were procured cost effectively by Bakers’ Quantity Surveyor, who worked with the Client to review the specification and provide three options per item across a range of budgets.